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The Rise Of Copper Wires In Automotive ICs


In 2011, the price of Gold (Au) surged to $1900/oz which had a drastic impact on Wirebonded ICs using Au wires. IC suppliers scrambled to convert from Au to copper (Cu) wire on as many products as they could. However, automotive ICs were reluctant to make the jump due to lack of reliability data and performance track-record. However, today’s automotive ICs are big users of Cu wires driven by ... » read more

Hot Trends In Semiconductor Thermal Management


Increasing thermal challenges, as the industry moves into 3D packaging and continues to scale digital logic, are pushing the limits of R&D. The basic physics of having too much heat trapped in too small a space is leading to tangible problems, like consumer products that are too hot to hold. Far worse, however, is the loss of power and reliability, as overheated DRAM has to continually r... » read more

Where All The Semiconductor Investments Are Going


Companies and countries are funneling huge sums of money into semiconductor manufacturing, materials, and research — at least a half-trillion dollars over the next decade, and maybe much more — to guarantee a steady supply of chips and know-how to support growth across a wide swath of increasingly data-centric industries. The build-out of a duplicate supply chain that can guarantee capac... » read more

Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test


U.S. President Joe Biden appears ready to increase pressure on Japan and the Netherlands to help block the flow of advanced chip technology to China, where it can be used to develop cutting-edge weapons. "You will see Japan and Netherlands follow our lead," U.S. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo told CNBC. Japan plans to budget ¥350 billion ($2.38 billion) in a research collaboration with th... » read more

Test Connections Clean Up With Real-Time Maintenance


Test facilities are beginning to implement real-time maintenance, rather than scheduled maintenance, to reduce manufacturing costs and boost product yield. Adaptive cleaning of probe needles and test sockets can extend equipment lifetimes and reduce yield excursions. The same is true for load board repair, which is moving toward predictive maintenance. But this change is much more complicate... » read more

Chip Industry Earnings: A Mixed Bag


Editor's Note: Updated the week of Oct. 31 and Nov. 7 for additional earnings releases. Although most companies reported revenue growth, this latest round of chip industry earnings releases reflected a few major themes: Lower future quarter guidance to varying degrees, due to the recent U.S. export restrictions related to China; Negative impact of the inflationary environment on corn... » read more

Week In Review: Semiconductor Manufacturing, Test


This week saw more fallout from U.S. export controls: SK hynix may consider selling its memory chip production facilities in China if recently imposed controls make it too difficult to continue operations there, according to Nikkei Asia. "As a contingency plan, we are considering selling the fab, selling the equipment or transferring the equipment to South Korea," said Kevin Noh, SK hynix ... » read more

SiPs: The Best Things in Small Packages


System-in-package (SiP) is quickly emerging as the package option of choice for a growing number of applications and markets, setting off a frenzy of activity around new materials, methodologies, and processes. SiP is an essential packaging platform that integrates multiple functionalities onto a single substrate, which enables lower system cost, design flexibility, and superior electrical p... » read more

Production Testing Of Discrete Power Products


By Vineet Pancholi and Dennis Dinawanao Metal Oxide Silicon Field Effect Transistors (MOSFETs), Insulated Gate Bipolar Transistors (IGBTs), Bipolar Junction Transistors (BJTs), diodes, and application specific multi-transistor packaged modules are some of the more popular discrete products. Switches control the flow of current within a circuit. MOSFETs are a building block of most electronic... » read more

Bump Co-Planarity And Inconsistencies Cause Yield, Reliability Issues


Bumps are a key component in many advanced packages, but at nanoscale levels making sure all those bumps have a consistent height is an increasing challenge. Without co-planarity, surfaces may not properly adhere. That can reduce yield if the problem is not identified in packaging, or it can cause reliability problems in the field. Identifying those issues requires a variety of process steps... » read more

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